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Whole-body efficiency is negatively correlated with minimum torque per duty cycle in trained cyclists

Edwards, Lindsay M. and Jobson, Simon A. and George, Simon R. and Day, Stephen H. and Nevill, Alan M. (2009) Whole-body efficiency is negatively correlated with minimum torque per duty cycle in trained cyclists. Journal of sports sciences, 27 (4). pp. 319-325. ISSN 0264-0414

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Abstract

The purpose of this study was to determine whether there is a causal relationship between pedalling “circularity” and cycling efficiency. Eleven trained cyclists were studied during submaximal cycling. Variables recorded included gross and delta efficiency and the ratio of minimum to peak torque during a duty cycle. Participants also completed a questionnaire about their training history. The most notable results were as follows: gross efficiency (r = -0.72, P < 0.05 at 250 W) was inversely correlated with the ratio of minimum to peak torque, particularly at higher work rates. There was a highly significant inverse correlation between delta efficiency and average minimum torque at 200 W (r = -0.76, P < 0.01). Cycling experience was positively correlated with delta efficiency and gross efficiency, although experience and the ratio of minimum to peak torque were not related. These results show that variations in pedalling technique may account for a large proportion of the variation in efficiency in trained cyclists. However, it is also possible that some underlying physiological factor influences both. Finally, it appears that experience positively influences efficiency, although the mechanism by which this occurs remains unclear.

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